January 1, 2021 marked the beginning of a new chapter in trade between the EU and the UK. With a post-Brexit trade deal ultimately agreed upon just before Christmas, the art and antiques industry finally received some clarity on what the UK’s relationship with the EU would look like and how this may impact the market.
New customs requirements
As predicted in our May 2018 blog post, the UK moved to an import and export model that closely resembles what many art and antiques dealers have experienced when shipping to and from Switzerland, where customs clearance is required at both borders. Many predicted that the requirement of further customs checks would cause substantial delays, but this is yet to manifest into anything as serious as many foresaw happening and trade is continuing as usual between the UK and EU.
The biggest impacts so far
The foremost issues have been around cost and frequency of shipments. Costs have increased due to additional services required on both sides of the Channel, and many shippers have ceased their European Groupage services until later in the month as they wait to see how it “plays out”. Uncertainty has also meant clients have placed shipments on hold until teething problems are resolved.
For those largely dependent on Parcel services, such as Fedex, DHL, DPD, etc., additional surcharges have been levied against UK <> EU shipments, as a result of increased investment in adjusting their systems to cope with Brexit. Delays and returns have also been reported as paperwork and customs documentation has been incorrectly submitted.
We’re here to help
If you have any questions about shipping and documentation required to trade between the EU and the UK, please do not hesitate to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.